East Asia Watch

Geopolitics in the time of the coronavirus

The remarkable 'immunity' of China-friendly mainland South-east Asian countries to Covid-19 underscores the politicisation of public health issues

If the saying holds that China's sneeze metaphorically inflicts a cold on the world, then mainland South-east Asian countries should be stricken with acute pneumonia by now. But such is not the case.

Located next to China, where the capital city of Wuhan in Hubei province is ground zero for the new coronavirus outbreak, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Thailand are geographically on the front lines as it were, more exposed than most, via travel and trade, to the rapidly spreading contagion.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 10, 2020, with the headline 'Geopolitics in the time of the coronavirus'. Subscribe